(Classical) Schubert - Divertissement a la hongroise, Variations, Fantaisie {Alexandre Tharaud, Zhu Xiao-Mei} - 2003, MP3 (tracks), 320 kbps

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Alexandre Tharaud, Zhu Xiao-Mei - Schubert: Divertissement a la hongroise
Жанр: Classical
Страна-производитель диска: Германия
Год издания: 2003
Аудиокодек: MP3
Тип рипа: tracks
Битрейт аудио: 320 kbps
Продолжительность: 56:48
Источник: lossless
Наличие сканов в содержимом раздачи: сетевые
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Divertissement a la hongroise en sol mineur Op.54, D 818
01. 1. Andante (8:58)
02. 2. Marche (2:11)
03. 3. Allegretto (11:42)
04. Variations sur un theme original en la bemol majeur Op.35, D 813 (16:57)
05. Fantaisie en fa mineur Op.103, D 940 (17:00)
Alexandre Tharaud, Zhu Xiao-Mei - piano
Recorded at Eglise Lutherienne de la Villette, Paris in February 2002.

Review by Stephen Plaistow

By any reckoning, works such as these are among Schubert’s major compositions for the piano, yet while recordings of the solo music proliferate his duets continue to be neglected. The Divertissement à l’hongroise, a work Chopin never tired of and admired without reserve (Wagner knew it, too, but found it trivial) is hardly known these days. Portrayals of the social gatherings of Schubert’s time have probably encouraged an impression of the four-hand pieces as minor works of circumstance, but the mature ones are diverse, original and not infrequently on an ambitious scale and demand the same meticulous preparation as chamber music. That is really what they are: chamber music for pianists, and they thrive on the refinement of sound and character you’d expect from a top-notch string quartet. They rarely get it.
These two practitioners are attentive to details of balance and play together very well but they do not often sustain more than a pleasing generalised atmosphere. In the Fantasie in F minor, which carries a high expressive charge, players such as Perahia and Lupu leave you in no doubt of its special moments and are spellbinding throughout; Alexandre Tharaud and Zhu Xiao-Mei give you the dramatic surprises but do not measure up so well to the range overall. There’s nothing pedantic in asking for a scale of differentiated dynamics all the way from a whisper to an overwhelming fortissimo, as Schubert prescribes: the better the control of dynamics, the more vivid the contrasts and characterisation.
Much the same virtues and limitations are evident in the other pieces: lively and quite sensitive playing, unexceptionable as far as it goes, but with small-scale phrasing and accents tending to fall predictably and too evenly, especially in the Variations in A flat. Tempi are all a bit quick – in the long, eventful third section of the Divertissement particularly; this is a relaxed piece, all of it, and by pressing through it rather and cutting most of the repeats (no, of course one doesn’t have to have them all) these players remain elegantly French, not even Hungarian by adoption, and miss a lot. They also sound a bit apprehensive that it might be thought a bore, as it was to Wagner.
Recording balance (not too close) and sound are nicely judged in the first two pieces, less acceptable in the Fantasie where the treble is too open, the quality generally more ‘middly’. Oh dear, I seem to have been rather critical. This is better than a merely competent piece of record-making, but all the performances, while starting well, end up sounding circumscribed, not fully engaged with projecting Schubert as a uniquely vulnerable soul, not touching enough.
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